Grasshopper Cake Layers:
Note - this is a slightly-simplified layer cake recipe from ChelSweets.com - I highly recommend checking out her site if you haven't before; she does amazing work!
3 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter (or 2 sticks) room temperature
3/4 cups buttermilk, room temperature (or buttermilk powder with water is an option if you can’t find liquid buttermilk at your grocery store!)
¼ c peppermint schnapps
¼ c + 2T crushed peppermint candy or candy canes (Note – if you live anywhere near a Winco, I found crushed peppermint candy in bulk there!)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line four 7 inch pans (for taller layers) or three 8-inch cake pans with parchment rounds, and /or grease with non-stick or baker’s floured cooking spray.
Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined.
Mix chunks of room-temperature butter slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly.
Pour in eggs and mix on low until just incorporated. Mix in the buttermilk in two installments, on a low speed. Add in vanilla and oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds.
Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake pans (I find a kitchen scale helpful for this part). This guarantees your layers will bake to be the same height. Sprinkle about 2T of crushed peppermint candy over the top of the batter in the pans, and swirl it in with an offset spatula.
Bake for 35-37 minutes if using 8-inch pans, or 37-38 minutes for 7-inch cake pans (or until a skewer comes out clean). Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Place cake layers into the freezer for 45 minutes, to accelerate the cooling process.
Once the layers have fully cooled, the caramelized bits can be trimmed from the sides / top of the cake using a serrated knife if desired. Be sure the layers are completely cooled or chilled before trimming. If you try to trim the layers while they’re still warm, they will crumble apart.
While you’re waiting…make your frosting!
8 oz (one package) cream cheese, softened
16 Tablespoons (two sticks) butter, softened
6-7 c powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons white chocolate liqueur (more if needed to obtain spreadable consistency)
2 Tablespoons peppermint schnapps
1/4 t. salt
Beat together softened cream cheese and butter; slowly add in powdered sugar alternating with milk until frosting reaches desired consistency. Add vanilla and salt and beat until well combined.
- 1 8- or 10 -inch cardboard cake circle (I prefer Wilton’s center-punched circles)
- Small piping bag & tip – this set has been one of my favorites!
- 5-6 pieces of peppermint bark – you can purchase this or make your own!
- 1 recipe white chocolate ganache (recipe below) +
- Squeeze bottle or piping bag or spoon (to add your ganache drip to the cake)
- martini glass – these cake layers bake dense enough to hold a real one, but feel free to use a plastic martini glass if you’d rather
- about ¼ c corn syrup – this is the easiest way I’ve found to rim martini glasses
- additional ½ c crushed peppermint candy or candy canes (to use for decorating)
- two small plates or bowls (to use to decorate your martini glass)
- chocolate syrup or ganache to swirl your martini glass (if desired)
- Cake leveler, cake turntable, large offset spatula, and pastry cutter/bench scraper - not all 100% necessary but incredibly helpful! (Here’s a link to the cake turntable I use)
- I also used a Wilton icing comb on the sides of this cake – optional, but I really liked the decorative effect that it added!
Once your cakes are cool, level them (if needed/desired; these cakes usually bake fairly flat so I didn’t trim much from the tops). This can be done with a cake leveler or a large serrated knife and a ruler. Place a smear of frosting on your cake circle (to keep the cake from sliding while you decorate it) and center your first cake layer in the center of the circle. I wanted a bit more of a liqueur kick to the cake layers, so I used a basting brush to infuse each one with about ¼ c of white chocolate liqueur. Optional but recommended! Spread the layer with frosting. Finely chop a large piece of peppermint bark and sprinkle over the frosting, and add your next cake layer on top. Repeat the process with your remaining cake layers.
Now you're ready to crumb-coat . If you're unfamiliar with crumb-coating, it's just what it sounds like – spreading a thin layer of frosting over the entire outside of the cake to keep crumbs out of your final layer.
Once your crumb coat has set (this takes about 5-10 minutes in the fridge), add your final layer of frosting and smooth. I like to use an offset spatula and bench scraper for this part. Once your cake is covered, place the icing comb on the cake circle against your cake and run the comb around the cake to texture the frosting. Place the cake into the freezer for about 20 minutes to set the frosting and get the cake cold enough to set the white chocolate ganache decoration.
Decorating the glass:
Pour your corn syrup onto one of your small plates, and crushed peppermint candy into the other. Tip the martini glass upside down and dip the rim into the corn syrup, letting any excess drips fall off. Then dip the rim into the peppermint candy to coat it evenly.
When I was assembling this cake, I had some chocolate ganache leftover from another project still in a drip bottle – I heated it until it was just liquid enough to squeeze out of the bottle and used it to make swirl around the inside of the martini glass. You can make your own chocolate ganache if you’d like, or some warm hot fudge topping would work as well. With whichever chocolate you decide to use, swirl the inside of the glass and place it in the fridge to set.
White chocolate ganache: I used a white chocolate ganache for this cake – I found my favorite white chocolate ganache recipe so far on ChelSweets.com!
- 1/4 cup heavy cream (77 grams)
- 1 cup white chocolate chips (175 grams)
- ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
Place heavy cream and white chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave on 50% power in 30-second intervals until smooth, stirring in between. Add peppermint extract and stir until smooth.
I used small zip-lock bags to pipe this drip since my drip bottles were full of chocolate ganache from another project. A drip bottle would work well also!
When your ganache has cooled to a moderate temperature – it should feel slightly warm and still be fairly liquid – transfer it to your piping bag or squeeze bottle. Squeeze about ¼ c of the ganache into the martini glass, and then quickly invert the glass over the cake, pressing the glass into the cake at an angle (check out my video for an extra guide on this step). Slowly drizzle ganache away from the glass, letting it fall down the edge of the cake to create drips.
Pipe a few frosting swirls around the glass and add a few pieces of peppermint bark. Sprinkle crushed peppermint candy around the peppermint bark and around the edges of the glass and ganache drips. I added a couple of pieces to the drips themselves as well for a bit of texture and color. Use a spoon to add some crushed peppermint candy around the bottom rim of the cake, and press it into the frosting with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. And you're done! Congratulations on your beautiful cake!